New Zealand’s only budgeting help line has just topped 15,000 callers.
0508 BUDGETLINE (283 438) is a free number that you can call from mobile phones, something important to a typical caller says Raewyn Fox, CEO of the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services, who operate the line.
“The 0508 number is for people who need information about budgeting,“ Fox says. “Often this is simply finding their local free budgeting service (we have more than 160 around the country). Sometimes we help them with questions about insolvency, or general questions about budgeting and budgeting services.”
Fox says the numbers of callers has increased dramatically over the past couple of years. “Partly that’s due to an increase in awareness of budgeting after the financial recession,” Fox says, “but we’ve also had a lot of callers via Work and Income since the Future Focus changes require a budgeting activity. This has placed a lot of strain on our freephone number, as well as on budgeting services across the country.”
This was recognised by the government with the new Budget announcing a short-term funding boost to help with capacity, and a review of how budgeting services are funded to be completed by this time next year.
Fox says that in the meantime the freephone number is only just keeping up with capacity. “We have one dedicated budget adviser answering the phone between 8am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday, but she is only just keeping up with the demand so far,” Fox says. 0508 BUDGETLINE is funded through a combination of funding from ANZ Bank, The Cooperative Bank, the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income, and Genesis Energy.
Budgeting advice is offered free through the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services, with over 160 locations throughout the country. You can find your nearest budgeting service by visiting www.familybudgeting.org.nz or calling 0508 BUDGETLINE (283 438).